Chris Bacon is the CEO & Co-founder at Komodo, a platform that enables schools to build the best wellbeing strategies, measure their effectiveness and create the best possible environment for students.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I originate from the UK, having completed my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees while initially working in what I thought was my dream role at a Premier League football club. Being British means this is synonymous with football, and my research throughout this time centred around predicting & preventing injuries through data.
This is where I began exploring all things research and human improvement. I have always been curious about how we can further human development, and this led me to New Zealand to pursue a PhD at the University of Canterbury. During my PhD, I was fortunate to have been exposed to the start-up world through a summer school programme called the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship.
This 10-week incubation enabled me to begin to bring my research to life in the shape and form of Komodo (although from a sporting concept initially). This is where I met my co-founder, Jack, and we combined our passion for improving the world to take forward Komodo.
Komodo began life as an athlete monitoring platform centred on data collection to build the most precise picture for each athlete, enabling injury prevention. Over the first two years of Komodo, we focussed on sporting organisations, but in particular, we had success with schools.
Our first platform allowed organisations to collect a multitude of data from workload to training to schedules to wellbeing. This is where we began to recognise our platform had a much bigger calling as we noticed that schools were using the platform to identify core wellbeing and mental health issues in the classroom.
In mid-2020, we pivoted away from sports to focus on school-wide well being solely; as they say, the rest is history. We now focus on providing schools with the visibility they need on each student’s wellbeing and mental health needs and empowering student voices to ensure they are heard when they need it the most.
In my role at Komodo, I am the CEO and co-founder, with Jack as our CPO and co-founder. We split the organisation into two core areas; customer & product. I oversee the customer perspective, which includes Sales, Marketing & Customer Success.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
It can vary within my typical day, with an evident focus on the sales front. I focus 70-80% of my time on sales, prospecting, demo calls, or running trials with schools. The key is for me to support schools with a solution that enables them to have the data to drive meaningful impact.
The other 20-30% of the time, I will oversee core business decisions such as hiring, collaborating with our epic team members, playing table tennis (as any good start-up founder should) and ensuring core operations are running smoothly.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Being a founder is incredibly hard, as you are ALWAYS switched on and think about it. I am notorious for late-night email responses or Slack messages. However, over the last 18 months, I have focused on ensuring I can create separation to turn off.
Being in New Zealand, I am lucky to have the outdoors at my fingertips. Therefore, weekends are a prime opportunity to build that balance into my life. On weekends, these are opportunities to enjoy life with my partner where you will find us out hiking, playing golf, exploring Christchurch and even out at the family farm.
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
We are fortunate to have an in-house team of psychologists at Komodo that provide us with psycho-educational sessions once a month. These have led to several routines and habit changes around one specific area, sleep!
I use the Sleep Schedule within my iPhone to ensure notifications are limited after 8.30 pm. This limits my blue light exposure, and I will pair this with a no-caffeinated hot drink before a goodnight’s sleep!
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
20VC Podcast – Fantastic insight into VCs, start-ups, growth tactics, product hacks and interviews with industry leaders.
Overnight Success Newsletter – Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary. Some interesting insights and overviews of everything taking place in ANZ.
6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Byju Raveendran, founder of BYJU.
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Wellbeing is a right, not a privilege. People should aim to include 1 or 2 activities in their lifestyle a week to encourage a positive change in their wellbeing. These can be as big or as small as a person wants. The key is habit building, and this is where the big change stems from.
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